Rabbinical Assembly weighs in on NJ Jewish Standard controversy

The Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly issued a statement Friday on the heat the N.J. Jewish Standard is feeling over its decision to print, then apologize for, then express regret for apologizing for a gay wedding announcement in its Sept. 24 issue.

Among the more surprising elements in the R.A. statement: It’s just as holy to be a journalist as it is to be a rabbi (tell that to your kids!).

The running of a Jewish newspaper is no less a sacred endeavor than the work of rabbis and teachers, as all strive to convey our most deeply held values in a manner that promotes kavod ha’adam, the sacred essence of the human being.

As a journalist, I must say this goes a wee bit over the top… (Is the R.A. even remotely familiar with the profession of journalism?)

In any case, here’s the full R.A. statement:[[READMORE]]

New York, NY (October 8, 2010) – A free press is the hallmark of a safe and open society. The Jewish community in America has benefitted in countless ways by living in a nation where we are safe to practice our Judaism without fear that those who disagree with us could ostracize us from the larger community. The Jewish Standard of Northern New Jersey’s precipitous decision to declare that pressure from some sectors of the community would prevent it from printing same sex wedding announcements is therefore especially troubling. While no one ought to be required to join a religious community that promotes a religious outlook with which they disagree, no single sector of the Jewish community may decide for all what is an acceptable practice.

The Jewish community relies upon the security that a free press guarantees.  The running of a Jewish newspaper is no less a sacred endeavor than the work of rabbis and teachers, as all strive to convey our most deeply held values in a manner that promotes kavod ha’adam, the sacred essence of the human being.

It is unthinkable that we would in any way erode our community’s free press, a treasure we would not permit the secular society to take away from us. To exercise censorship in this way spills out beyond the bounds of a single community and erodes the vibrancy and diversity of public discourse that is the strength of Jewish communal life. Furthermore, it compromises the safety of all of us, in the larger community, and in our own Jewish community.

The Rabbinical Assembly represents 1600 rabbis serving Jewish communities across the globe. Jews from around the world look to our communities here in North America with envy for the many ways in which the vibrancy of our Jewish population strengthens Jewish life. We must not let the density of Jewish population in Greater New York lull us into carelessness in guarding the very safety of our community that is fundamentally threatened by efforts to control our press.  We applaud and support the work of the New Jersey region of the Rabbinical Assembly and the many other Jews in northern New Jersey who have been gathering in a spirit of open and civil dialogue to reinforce our commitment to respect and appreciate the holy spark that guides all of our strivings to live Jewish lives.

Signed,

Rabbi Gilah Dror, President and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld,  Executive Vice President

NEXT STORY